ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp signed a budget Friday that gives teachers raises. But Atlanta Public School employees will get a fraction of the raises Kemp promised. Atlanta’s superintendent said it’s because of an unresolved dispute with the city of Atlanta.
The state is funding most of the teacher pay raises, but some larger school districts like Gwinnett, Cobb and Atlanta are having to find ways to supplement the promised raises with local money.
During a meeting this week, the superintendent Meria Carstarphen told Atlanta School Board members that APS teachers will get a $2,000 pay raise -- not the $3,000 promised by the state.
"I know a lot of our teachers are angry and upset," Carstarphon said during the board meeting. The school system planned to supplement the pay raise with money owed the school system by the city of Atlanta – from a pile of money tied to the Gulch, and a tax allocation district rooted in its west side neighborhood.
"I hear you that folks are upset and you want your raises," Carstarphen said. "But we unfortunately have not been able to get the City of Atlanta to honor the agreement that we settled back in January."
The superintendent says the city owes the school board $10 million. The city says the money is tied up in litigation. In a video, a teachers union rep says it’s petty.
"Shame on the Atlanta Board of Education for using teachers as a pawn against the city of Atlanta," said Verdallia Turner of the Atlanta Federation of Teachers, in a video.
That’s in contrast to other school systems.
Gwinnett County is fully funding its raise.
Cobb County is also fully funding it and planning to give teachers and other staffers raises between 8 and 12 percent.
DeKalb County said it will decide the matter next month.
Atlanta will fall short – but the superintendent said it’ll pay teachers in full -- eventually. "We’ll have to figure it out. But we stand with you," Carstarphen said.
A spokesman for Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement, "It is unfortunate that the superintendent is attempting to pit teachers against the City. There is no connection between the TAD agreement and teacher salaries."